- The Washington Times
Sunday, August 22, 2021

White House national security advisor Jake Sullivan said Sunday that the Biden administration is taking the threat of an ISIS attack in Afghanistan “absolutely, deadly seriously” as crowds swarm the Kabul airport in hopes of being evacuated.

Mr. Sullivan said the “threat is real, it is acute, it is persistent, and it is something that we are focused on with every tool in our arsenal,” but that the military is prepared for the possibility.

“Our commanders on the ground have a wide variety of capabilities that they are using to defend the airfield against a potential terrorist attack,” Mr. Sullivan said on CNN’s State of the Union. “We are working hard with our intelligence community to try to isolate and determine where an attack might come from. It is something we are placing paramount priority on stopping and disrupting, and we will do everything we can for as long as we are on the ground to keep that from happening. We are taking it absolutely, deadly seriously.”

He said that the military has evacuated nearly 8,000 people from Afghanistan in the last 24 hours after reaching agreements with 26 different countries on four continents to take the Afghans fleeing the country after last weekend’s Taliban takeover.

“We are flying people out at an efficient clip,” said Mr. Sullivan. “In fact, in the last 24 hours, the United States alone flew out 3,900 people on military aircraft, and our partners with flights we facilitated flew out 3,900 people for a total of more than 7500 people in the last 24 hours.”

He said they are “moving out to multiple different bases in multiple different countries, and that will continue as this operation unfolds.”

About 17,000 people have been removed from Afghanistan in the last week, the Pentagon said Saturday.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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